I am considering visiting Nigeria for 2 weeks (January 4-19, 2016) with a Nigerian friend who will be visiting family/friends for a month. I’m a single, Caucasian female, and have travelled extensively throughout Europe as a solo tourist, and as part of a tour group but have never travelled to Africa. I have some concern, which I think are common, and normal especially since the images, and information we receive about Nigeria, especially from the media, which focuses on the violence, corruption, hunger, and poverty. I have been doing a lot of research, and trying to learn as much as I can in hopes of alleviating some of my fears, and concerns.
I am concerned about the militant group Boko Haram but understand that this is mostly in northeast Nigeria. My friend’s family is in southeast Nigeria – Oko and Enugu. However, I’m a little worried of how my parents will react when I tell them that I’m considering going to Nigeria with my friend as they watch the news, and get easily paranoid about things like this.
I am also concerned about malaria as I reacted to mosquitos even when visiting my grandmother in South Italy! I know that this is not the same thing but it wasn’t pleasant either. The area swelled up, and it was very itchy and painful. I know that I will need to take medication before, during and after my visit, and will also need to get several vaccinations including yellow fever.
Some of my concerns:
Flight – I know that it will be a long flight with 2 stops. I’m concerned about jet lag, and it affecting me enjoying my visit. I’m hoping that it won’t be too bad, and that the 2 weeks that I am planning, will be sufficient time.
Food – I’m vegetarian but eat fish. Are there a variety of foods in Nigeria, and is it safe to drink the water or is it best to get bottled water?
Accommodations – I’m not sure where I will be staying yet. I need to speak to my friend about this. Someone suggested that I get a hotel as it may be more comfortable for me. I’m guessing that most homes in Nigeria don’t have AC, and that hotels have it.
A friend suggested not staying with my friend and his family as I will not be used to their living situations. She also stated that they may not have AC but I have survived without it while visiting my grandmother in Calabria, Italy. They have no AC.
Things to do – What things can you recommend for me to do? I still want to do some research on this as I don't really know what there is to do or see.
Weather – I know that it’s really hot in Nigeria but wondering if January is less hot than the summer months or is it the same all year long? I grew up in Canada, and our summers are not hot (compared to Nigeria) although it depends on the month of year. Even when we do have hot/humid temperatures, we are used to the climates in Canada, and have AC in order to escape and to help sleep through the night. I can deal with warmer temperatures but can feel quickly tired after being hot temperatures all day.
I recently learned that I need to get a Nigerian visa. It seems like a complicated and expensive process. I need to submit my yellow fever card but I read that normally this is done 10 days before my trip, so how would I even be able to submit this along with my passport to get a visa?! I'm staring to wonder if it's even worth it. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with all of this. I also haven't spoken to my friend about it because he has been busy with work, and it's been difficult to meet and talk with him about the trip. He's Nigerian so he's already set. He booked his flight and has his passport. I'm have dual citizenship (Canadian/Italian) and would use my Canadian passport to travel into Nigeria.
I appreciate any helpful and positive feedback that you can share with me.
Thank you. : )
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